Staying motivated as a social entrepreneur requires constant effort because all the great aspects of setting out and doing good in the world equally contribute to its downsides. Setting out on an entrepreneurial path requires focus and dedication.
Until you have a steady source of clients or revenue, you’ll always be on the edge, uncertain if you made the right choice leaving your 9-5 job, or if you’ll make enough money that month to cover your bills.
How do you keep your spirit up at all times? How can you wake up every morning, cheerfully make your to-do list, and attack your tasks with the same energy every single day?
Here are 9 key points you need to be aware of to keep on track.
How I Stay Motivated Working From Home
1. Learn discipline
Many people don’t like this word because it sounds too strict, but it’s almost impossible to achieve any level of success without discipline. Choosing to do something is one thing, committing the time needed to do it is a whole other ball game. Don’t compromise the time you need to spend on your daily tasks. When you don’t put the right effort in, you don’t get the right results out, and so begin to lose motivation to try harder. Discipline is key to creating the enterprise you want.
2. Get out of bed early
On the days when you have work to do, always get out of bed early. Starting out your “office” might be the desk a few feet away from your bed, but you need to get up, wash your face and go sit at it. Don’t get used to starting late and feeling behind throughout the day.
It’s incredible the difference that routine can make to your mindset, and your ability to deliver good work. If you are a ‘night-owl’, and prefer to work later in the day or even at night, try to leverage routine and in this case try to go to bed at the same time each evening to set you up for the next day.
3. Always make a to-do list
Some people prefer to write their to-do list every morning, but I do mine differently. Whenever a task pops in my head, I write it down. By the end of each day, I have a small list of tasks I need to complete. I then select which ones to complete the next day and write a daily task list. Once I do that, I cross them off my initial list. This way, I always have a to-do list, and a daily task list. When you’re busy building a business, there’s always several things you need to do, several tasks to juggle, and it’s almost impossible to remember every single one of them.
Your to-do list and daily task list should always help you remember that you have things to be completed and help you organise your priorities so that they actually get done.
4. Set up a workstation
It’s likely you’ll start out working from home and you need a workstation. You don’t have to do anything fancy, but you need a desk and chair where you can set up your computer, post-it board, and other things you might need to stay organized. Having a workstation serves as a reminder that you have a job to do, and helps you eliminate distractions that could come from working in bed, in front of the TV, or in the kitchen.
Respect your time by creating a workstation you need to focus on your work, a space that allows you to protect your ‘life’ space too.
5. Don’t forget about the outside world
Working from home there is no daily commute, and in extreme cases, we can go for days without physical interaction with others. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated from the world. Socialization is very important for your mental health. Go to the store instead of ordering in, visit a market often, and say “yes” when friends or family invite you out, after all, time to socialise is one of the benefits of managing your own time with discipline! You can also mix it up by working one or two days a month at a local co-working space, which typically rent out hot desks at an hourly rate.
6. Feed your mind consistently
Read and watch things that are both related and unrelated to your industry. By constantly feeding your mind with things to educate and entertain, and to push you to stay up to date with the latest in your sector and also to think of ideas unrelated to work, you can enjoy a sense of invigoration that comes with curiosity and learning. Have you discovered TED talks playlist feature? Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell? Or perhaps a webinar from an industry leader or inspiration? There is a wealth of information available to feed your mind; get into it!
7. Keep your books in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed
Personally, financials easily confuse me. I advise that you either ring-fence time weekly to keep your financials in order or find a virtual assistant to do it for you. I do both depending on how swamped I am with work. With flexible agreements, an assistant on demand can be a great solution. Other startups find a dedicated accountant working remotely with accounting software is the best fit for them, and this arrangement can cost less than you think.
8. Join online entrepreneurial communities
One of the best things that happened when developing my social enterprise career was finding and joining online communities full of advice and assistance. They help you realize that the challenges you face are ‘virtual worldwide’, and that you are not alone. There are also entrepreneurs who have been where you are, and freely give out advice on how to manage all kinds of situations. For every question you ask, there are very supportive people ready with relevant answers. Joining communities like these will help you find the needed support from people who truly understand everything you are going through.
9. Take time off for self-care
Take care of you! Don’t commit yourself to your business alone. The harsh truth is, if you overwork yourself and break down, you simply won’t deliver what you set out to. Give yourself well-deserved breaks to do absolutely nothing but relax and have fun.
Even when you do everything right, there will always be those down moments you have no control over. When these moments come, remind yourself of the reasons why you started out; those dreams are still valid and with the right effort, discipline, focus, and sufficient time, they will become yours.